Why do women live longer than men?

Everywhere in the world women live longer than men – but this was not always the case. The available data from rich countries shows that women didn’t live longer than men in the 19th century. Why do women live much longer than men today, and why is this difference growing in the past? The evidence is limited and we only have incomplete solutions. While we are aware that there are behavioral, biological as well as environmental factors which play a significant role in women’s longevity more than men, we do not know how much each factor contributes.

We have learned that women are living longer than men, regardless of their weight. But this isn’t because of certain biological or كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام non-biological factors have changed. What are these new factors? Some are well known and relatively straightforward, كيفية ممارسة العلاقة الزوجية فى الاسلام like the fact that men smoke more often. Some are more complex. For example, there is evidence that in rich countries the female advantage increased in part because infectious diseases used to affect women disproportionately a century ago, so advances in medicine that reduced the long-term health burden from infectious diseases, especially for survivors, ended up raising women’s longevity disproportionately.

Everywhere in the world women tend to live longer than men

The first chart below shows life expectancy at birth for men and women. As you can see, all countries are above the diagonal line of parity – this means that in all countries that a baby girl can be expected to live longer than a new boy.1

This chart is interesting in that it shows that although the female advantage is present everywhere, global differences are significant. In Russia women have an average of 10 years more than men; in Bhutan the gap is just half an hour.



In rich countries the female advantage in longevity was smaller

We will now examine how the advantage of women in longevity has changed with time. The following chart shows the men and women’s life expectancies at birth in the US during the period 1790 to 2014. Two aspects stand out.

First, there is an upward trend. Women and men in the United States live longer than they were 100 years ago. This is in line with historical increases in life expectancy everywhere in the world.

The second is that there is an increasing gap: The female advantage in terms of life expectancy used be very modest but it increased substantially in the past century.

It is possible to verify that these points are also applicable to other countries with data by clicking on the “Change country” option on the chart. This includes the UK, France, and Sweden.

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